Get F.I.T.T.


When designing a physical activity program, there are four main principles you should address.

These principles are known as the F.I.T.T. principles. F.I.T.T. is an acronym that stands for frequency, intensity, time, and type.



When designing your program, consider how many times a week you will be able to exercise.

Ideally, you should participate in the physical activity daily. However, if time does not permit, participate in cardiovascular training 3-5 times per week.

Initially, three days a week will get you started. Eventually increase the number of days per week to five days and then every day of the week.


Intensity is the amount of oxygen you consume and the amount of calories you burn while performing exercise. You can determine your intensity by the difficulty you have doing the exercise, or the amount of exertion you perceive yourself doing.

Reference the chart below for a quick and easy way to determine intensity or rate your exertion with the Rate of Perceived Exertion scale (see page 11).

Intensity is judged by YOU. Intensity is usually classified as “light,” “moderate,” or “vigorous.”

  • “Light” Exercise
    An activity you can do easily, such as a slow stroll through the park.
  • “Moderate” Exercise
    Something that makes you exert a little more effort, but you feel you can keep up the pace. An example of “moderate” activity is a brisk walk through the park.
  • “Vigorous” Activity
    Is a challenge. Generally, it is something you need to focus on doing because it requires more energy. An example of a “vigorous” activity would be a run in the park.




Mode Resistance

Easy to breathe, can carry on conversation

Light Can be felt, but not fatiguing

Breathing heavily, but can carry a conversation


Fatiguing only if prolonged

Breathing heavily, but still able to speak Vigorous

More than moderate at first and becomes difficult at 4 or 5 reps


The duration of physical activity will depend on your fitness level.

For some people, 10-20 minutes will be the most they can participate in as they get started. Ideally, the length of cardiovascular training should last 30-60 minutes.


Type refers to the mode of physical activity.

An emphasis should be placed on an activity that you enjoy, such as biking, running, swimming, cross country skiing, basketball racquetball, tennis, resistance training, or walking. If you enjoy the activity, you may be more motivated to be active.

When initiating a new physical activity, always start slowly and increase the intensity over weeks or even months. This will help decrease soreness, fatigue and chance of injury.


Next step

Measure your heart rate, and determine the level of intensity of your workouts. Calculate Your Target Heart Rate